Creative Capital: Georges Doriot and the Birth of Venture Capital

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Venture capitalists are the handmaidens of innovation. Operating in the background, they provide the fuel needed to get fledgling companies off the ground--and the advice and guidance that helps growing companies survive their adolescence.

In Creative Capital, Spencer Ante tells the compelling story of the enigmatic and quirky man--Georges Doriot--who created the venture capital industry. The author traces the pivotal events in Doriot's life, including his experience as a decorated brigadier general during World War II; as a maverick professor at Harvard Business School; and as the architect and founder of the first venture capital firm, American Research and Development. It artfully chronicles Doriot's business philosophy and his stewardship in startups, such as the important role he played in the formation of Digital Equipment Corporation and many other new companies that later grew to be influential and successful.

An award-winning Business Week journalist, Ante gives us a rare look at a man who overturned conventional wisdom by proving that there is big money to be made by investing in small and risky businesses. This vivid portrait of Georges Doriot reveals the rewards that come from relentlessly pursuing what-if possibilities--and offers valuable lessons for business managers and investors alike.

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Editorial Reviews

The Financial Times
This book will appeal to anyone interested in the origins of venture capital, why its centre of gravity moved from the Boston area to the west coast, or what it takes to succeed as a VC investor.
The Wall Street Journal

Richly researched with the cooperation of Doriot's surviving colleagues . . .

The New York Times
An ultimately satisfying biography of Georges F. Doriot, the transplanted Frenchman who is often called the father of V.C.
The Boston Globe
Doriot "democratized finance," Ante says. "Anyone, anywhere who had a great idea could approach the company.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781422101223
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 930,255
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.38 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Spencer Ante is an editor at Business Week, where he has written many cover stories and received awards for excellence in reporting. He has also written and reported for The New York Times, Salon, Wired, Spin, Business 2.0, The Industry Standard,, and other publications.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 26, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Entertaining history of Georges Doriot, father of venture capital

    Georges Doriot, the father of the modern venture capital industry, once said, ¿I don¿t know anyone on Wall Street who ever built a company. They simply furnish money, and that¿s the least important part of it.¿ Everyone who knew Doriot, or ¿the General¿ as he was called, trusted his wisdom, veracity and business sense. As president of the American Research and Development Corporation (ARD), the world¿s first publicly owned venture capital firm, Doriot ¿ a charming Frenchman turned American ¿ repeatedly proved the inestimable value of seed capital to get new enterprises up and running. Author Spencer E. Ante fully conveys Doriot¿s remarkable discipline, energy, charisma and bold vision. He tells the saga of Doriot¿s life as an innovative financier, and explains how he and his firm funded the launch of many famous high-tech companies and, in the process, helped transform the U.S.¿s stodgy industrial economy. getAbstract warmly recommends this fascinating biography.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2008

    The Unexpected Father of Venture Capitalism

    Spencer Ante sheds a powerful light on the life and accomplishments of a foreigner who came alone to the U.S. in 1921 C.E. That man had neither family nor friends at his arrival. Furthermore, he never graduated from college in his native country. On top of that, that man was not rolling in money. The WWI had wiped out his father financially. However, that foreigner had some assets: a strong Protestant work ethic, a passion for technology and the future, a confident yet humble personality that was at ease with people of all stations in life, a strong volubility, a sense of compassion, and a deep understanding of the importance of education. Furthermore, that same foreigner wanted to run one day his own company after the example of his father. Who would have bet in 1921 that such a foreigner would one day become: 1. Arguably the most influential and popular professor at Harvard University¿s Graduate School of Business 2. The driver behind the foundation of INSEAD, one of the leading business schools in the world 3. The man who played a key role in the well-being of the American soldiers during WWII by spearheading to their benefit a quite revolution in engineering 4. And last but not least, the father of the venture financing industry as we know it today around the world. That foreigner was a Frenchman and his name was Georges Doriot. As it is often the case, an extraordinary woman, who remained mostly in the background, was part of that story. Her name was Edna Allen and she was American. To summarize, Ante succeeds in bringing back to light a man whose contributions deserve to be better known, especially, in business circles.

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